At a time of unequalled humanitarian needs, funding shortfall, COVID-19, and climate shocks, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) is allocating $23.8 million to 75 eligible humanitarian partners, including national non-governmental organisations, to help them address critical humanitarian needs and ensure that essential assistance reaches people affected by conflict, food insecurity, inclement weather and disease outbreaks in north-east Nigeria.

According to Trond Jensen, Head of Office for United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Nigeria, “It is my sincere hope that this next round of funding allocated to partners will support remote education activities, reduce protection risks, improve shelters, and ensure food assistance is provided to communities.”

Forty per cent of the fund for each sector will be allocated to the humanitarian response in Adamawa and Yobe, and 60 percent to response in Borno, the epicenter of protracted conflict. According to the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview, the humanitarian crisis in BAY states is one of the largest and most severe in the region, if not in the world. The ongoing conflict has caused millions of people to flee their homes – and by extension – farmlands, business and support networks. This has left them vulnerable and destitute, ending up in formal or informal internally displaced people camps and host communities.

Over 2 million people are still internally displaced in the Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states. Many of the displaced have sought refuge in communities that are equally vulnerable. Amongst the most vulnerable are women and girls, who are often exposed to protection risks, including sexual and gender based violence or other violations. Women and girls often also have less access to basic services and livelihoods.

Local solutions to local problems

As part of a broader humanitarian localization efforts, national partners eligible to apply for funding increased by more than 130 per cent in 2020, and 19 per cent of all 2020 funding was allocated to national NGOs. The aim is to expand localisation, as this often the only sources of funding for local partners. To ensure active involvement of local humanitarian actors, the NHF in 2021 piloted the first-ever consortium allocation of $4 million to deliver integrated education, nutrition, and protection services to vulnerable and crisis-affected children and adolescents.

“This is NHF’s largest allocation to date and is a real boost for localization. We believe in local solutions to local problems—and our humanitarian partners are ready to respond to issues such as camp management and shelter; water, sanitation, and hygiene; health, protection, nutrition, coordination, and common services and food security,” said Edward Kallon, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria.

Despite the many operational constraints and severe underfunding, UN and NGO partners, in coordination with Nigerian authorities, have provided life-saving assistance to 4.8 million people in 2021 across the affected states.

This next round of NHF funding will provide the much-needed resources for life-saving programmes under the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), addressing critical gaps in the response. The requirement for meeting the needs of 6.4 million people targeted for humanitarian assistance through the Humanitarian Response Plan is US$1 billion. In the last quarter of the year, less than half of this requirement has been met – currently 48 percent.

In a period of food insecurity in north-east Nigeria, the NHF 2021 standard allocation of US$23.8 million is complementing the US$250 million multi-sector plan aimed at preventing a food and nutrition crisis reaching catastrophic levels. The allocation will deliver essential life-saving services, address non-food needs and support essential humanitarian needs to ensure the viability of frontline activities.

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